Essay about The Dialogue Journal: A Tool for Building Better Writers

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11th United States History
SUMMER READING ASSIGNMENT: DIALOGUE JOURNAL (Project Grade)
A good reader summarizes what s/he has read, asks questions of the text, supports what s/he thinks about the text by citing passages from the text, and links what the reader has read to personal experiences and other things the reader has read. A Dialogue Journal helps facilitate this conversation/interaction with the text.
1. Setting up the Dialogue Journal is simple. Divide a page in your journal in two columns, labeled as follows: on the left What the book says and on the right What I say. You are required to keep a journal on your reading of one of the following books: Follow the River by Thom, Killing Lincoln by O’Reilly, or Arc of Justice by Boyle. This journal will be collected on the first Friday of school (August 17).
2. At least one time within each chapter of your chosen book, record something from the book that interests you or that puzzles you (total of 48 entries). This may be something someone says, a conversation between two people, a sentence, a paragraph, a startling image or even the language the author uses to express an idea. Copy the passage on the left hand side of the journal exactly as it is written. You may cite the first few words and then use an ellipsis(...)and then cite the last few words if the passage is long. Remember to write the page number next to the passage.
3. Use the right side of the page to respond to your passage by asking questions, making comments, making predictions, etc. (some suggestions for responding are outlined below). This will reflect your initial feelings about the passage. Then, write a more analytical response to your initial impression/response/question. To do this, closely examine the textual passage and briefly discuss it in depth. (See excerpt of Dialogue Journal that a student wrote in response to John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me below.) Requirements:
Write the chapter number at the top of each page.
Record a minimum of one passage from each chapter and respond to each of them.
Respond with clear and complete sentences.
Make sure that you vary your initial responses (use questions, state opinions, and make predictions).
Include the page number at the end of your citation in MLA style as shown in the example on the next page.
Work independently! Student responses should reflect your individual reflections and experiences. Do not copy another student’s work.

Chapter One
What the Book Says
What I Say
“It was unlike anything I had imagined. I became two men...I had tampered with the mystery of existence and I had lost the sense of my own being” (16).
This is Griffin’s first experience as a black man. The change for him seemed traumatic but he knew he had to adjust to it. It must have been frightening because it was like losing all his securities and self-confidence because he did not really know who he was. It was an identity he could not recognize.
“Here hips drew the eye and flirted with the eye ...It was better to look at hips than the ghetto” (22).
I like the use of repetitive words. Also it describes one of Griffin’s opinions about the ghetto and how he’s trying to adjust. Trying to be one of them. He’s scoping this out and figuring out his place in it.
Dialogue Journal Guidelines
First thoughts. Take some time to write down anything that comes to you in relation to the text- your initial reactions or responses. If it bores you, write that down. If you are intrigued by certain statements, if you’re attracted to characters or issues or problems, write that down.
Make connections with your own experience. What does the reading make you think of? Does it remind you of anyone or anything? Make connections with other texts or concepts or events. Do you see any similarities between this material and other books you’ve or movies that you have seen? songs, artistic works, poems, etc.?
Ask yourself…